Basic Earned Income Tax Rules EITC For Taxpayers

The EIC can be worth up to $6,143 for families who worked in 2014. Workers raising children who earned less than about $48,000 in 2014 may be eligible for the EIC. To claim the credits, eligible workers must file a tax return. To qualify for Earned Income Tax Credit or EITC, you, and your spouse if married and filing a joint return, must meet all of the following rules:


Basic Qualification for EITC

  1. Have a Social Security Number that is valid for employment
  2. Have earned income from working for someone, running or owning a business or farm or another source
  3. Cannot file as married filing separate
  4. Must be:
    •  a U.S. citizen or resident alien all year or
    •  a nonresident alien married to a U.S. citizen or resident alien, file a joint return and choose to be treated as a resident alien (for more information on making this choice, see Publication 519, U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens)
  5. Cannot be the qualifying child of another person
  6. Cannot file Form 2555 or 2555-EZ (related to foreign earned income)
  7. Your Adjusted Gross Income and earned income must meet the limits shown on the Income Limits, Maximum Credit Amounts and Tax Law Updates Page
  8. Your investment income must meet or be less than the amount listed on the Income Limits, Maximum Credit Amounts and Tax Law Updates Page

After you meet the EITC rules for everyone, you must either meet the rules for workers without a qualifying child or have a child that meets the qualifying child rules.


Interactive EITC Assistant

Find out if you are eligible for the EITC by answering a few questions and providing basic income information using the IRS’s online EITC Assistant. It also helps you determine if your child meets the rules for a qualifying child and estimates the amount of your credit.  Find the English EITC Assistant here or o haga click aquí para seleccionar la Versión en Español del Asistente.


Filling out the EITC

Preparing a tax return can be complicated and may seem overwhelming. Tax filers often seek help from commercial tax preparers who may charge high fees that reduce the value of any refund the worker is eligible to receive. That’s why it’s so important for lower-income tax filers to know there’s an alternative: Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA). This IRS-sponsored program works with community organizations to provide high quality tax preparation to lower-income tax filers — free of charge!